Too many veterans still struggle to adapt and find it difficult to access and navigate healthcare in the civilian world. The first Scottish Veterans Commissioner, Eric Fraser looked at the considerable challenges that some veterans face engaging with Scotland’s health and social care services in 2018 when he published his report: “Veterans’ Health and Wellbeing: A Distinctive Scottish Approach”. This new report looks again at health and wellbeing but from a transition perspective specifically.
The report makes four broad, outcomes-based recommendations intended to build on the solid progress made to deliver the recommendations from the 2018 report and ensure that we get health and mental healthcare right for those transitioning now – and for their families. They will do that at a time where world events are having a profound impact and as the NHS struggles to recover from 2 years of Pandemic and all its associated harms.
Mental health and wellbeing stands out in the report as a key area for early attention. In researching the report, unmet need and the frustrations of veterans and their families struggling to find support or treatment were issues that came up, time and again. The Scottish Veterans Care Network completed its work to produce a Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Plan in December 2021 and implementing the Plan to get the structure right and address a long-standing need is the standout recommendation. By doing so, we can ensure our veterans and their families can access consistently high quality support and services, whenever they need them, wherever they live in Scotland. The report is aimed at ensuring all Service leavers and their families choosing to settle in Scotland experience fewer difficulties, smoother access and better health and wellbeing outcomes. An overview of the report’s findings, including the recommendations in full, can be found here.